Surf’s up in La Union
As the ‘north swell’ pushes waves higher this October, the town of San Juan in La Union celebrated another season of surfing.
To start the surfing break, residents of San Juan held the 8th La Union Surf Break: Soul Surf, which capped off yesterday. The La Union Surf Break is the biggest annual water sports event in the province and has been making waves in the local and international scene since it was organised 8 years ago.
La Union’s surf breaks have helped generate tourism for the province and strengthened local culture by combining surfing, arts and music. La Union Surf Club vice president and event organiser Leman Dimes said ‘Surfing in La Union has come a long way. We were merely known for our beaches. Today, we have established San Juan as the surfing capital in the north.’
San Juan is the nearest surfing site north of Metro Manila next to Baler in Aurora province. Town home-stay facilities and hotel operators have reported receiving room bookings months before the surfing event.
This year, the La Union Surf Break has promoted environmental preservation and cleanup in its themes. It has also provided livelihood for residents of Urbiztondo village who have set up souvenir shops and snack counters.
Local young surfers have also generated income by tutoring beginners. Dimes said ‘They have made use of their earnings in going back to school as education still comes first.’
The La Union Surf Break has won its second Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines and Department of Tourism’s best tourism event for sports and wellness category last year. Dimes said the event organisers are eyeing the Hall of Fame award next year.